Confession time: In case you don't already know this about me, I am a GIANT nerd. I've played just about every tabletop roleplaying game there ever was. I had, and still have an enormous bucket of dice with a ridiculous variety of numbers of sides. So, for me, one of the most exciting aspects of the proliferation of the internet, was online role playing games. I don't mean things like World of Warcraft (though that *is* fun!) I mean the much earlier iterations of text-based roleplaying, interactive storytelling, in which I control one character, you control another, and we can take turns writing the action or dialogue in "real time" over the internet. In the end, you don't have anything publishable, but you sure did have a lot of fun!
Over the years, I've tried out several of these groups, in several different mediums. Some of them were sweet and cute and innocent (Final Fantasy II, anyone?) Some of them were plain awful (yes, I'm embarrassed to say that I played with Gor, though I didn't make many friends by calling it playing!) A few, though, were pretty damned fun. The one I think I had the most fun playing in was on an old, now defunct telnet talker server called Iron Rose, and the world in which the game was set was something called "The Marketplace." When I stumbled on this rpg, the only thing I knew about this world was what I read in the 2-page quickie guide: a contemporary world in which a consensual slave market exists a la Exit to Eden, minus the cheezy resort. Apparently, there were based on a set of books (there are currently 5 of them) written by some woman I'd never heard of called Laura Antoniou. One kind of neat thing that set this game apart was that the author of the books not only fully endorsed the game, but she would apparently even pop in occasionally to play along!
Loving the kinky, and loving the roleplay, I ordered the first three books in the set, so that I could get the background skinny on the setting. Of course, I wasn't about to wait until they arrived to dive right in. Patience and I are not on speaking terms. I'm sort of glad that I waited actually. See, I figured that since I knew nothing about the world, I figured I would make a character that didn't know about the Marketplace either, someone who could potentially be "spotted" as a potential slave. And that way, I got to sort of discover some of the secrets of the world along with her (for the three weeks it took my books to clear customs, at least!)
The game had been running for about a year when I found it, and it remained running for about a year afterward. I kept that one character and created a nice stock of NPC-style toons that I could pop out whenever the server was quiet to interact with the folks hopping on. The folks who played there were smart, and sexy, and damn good storytellers, and I had a ball, for as long as it lasted. The Marketplace was a perfect sandbox for kinky people who like to read or write to play with their imaginations and push boundaries.
Why am I sharing this admittedly embarrassing bit of my personal nerditude? Simple. Laura's opening up her sandbox again! Not for a game this time, but for a book. She's got an open call for submissions right now for stories set in the Marketplace series of books. ---> Calls for Submissions Heck you can even stuck some of her characters in them if you like (insert high-pitched fangirl squee iffn you like!) She's got a few other calls out, too, so be sure to check them out. She hasn't edited any anthologies in forever and who knows if she'll keep it up if she doesn't get good responses!
Now I need to figure out what I want to write. Fun, fun!
Madeline Elayne's short stories and novellas delve into alternative sexuality and fetish/kink from the point of view of all genders and sexual orientations. She firmly believes that everyone would benefit from having a superhero secret (or not-so-secret) identity. Hers is Mad the Safety Ranger, whose intermittent articles encourage new-to-the-scene folk to explore the safer side of kink.